New warehouse, new tyre brand supporting MTS’s wholesale strategy
Bleak economic circumstances generally create brand strategy complications within tyre distribution. Drivers’ demand for lower priced tyres as cost-of-living pressures hit their pockets can alter the dynamics at play in wholesalers’ exclusive brand offerings, which are often pitched as premiumised products with additional benefits that make paying more than a budget price worthwhile. Yet down markets are also a time to build for the future, sowing seeds that will yield benefits when the outlook brightens. In the case of Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), a new-build warehouse in Scotland to support its business growth north of the border and a newly added exclusive distribution deal with Petlas are two ways in which the company is building for the future and managing the current market situation. Tyres & Accessories asked Graham Mitchell, MTS wholesale director, about its exclusive brands, which also include parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken Tyres, General Tire, and GT Radial, as well as the development of its warehouse in Bellshill, Scotland.
Michelin completes Flex Composite Group acquisition
Michelin completed the acquisition of Flex Composite Group on 27 September 2023 under the terms announced on 19 June 2023. According to the purchaser, “Michelin and FCG have thus created a leader in high-tech engineered fabrics and films”. The acquisition forms part of the Michelin in Motion 2030 strategy and is said to mark “a significant step forward in the development of the groups polymer composites activities”.
Continental opens 13th German training centre in Gifhorn
Continental has opened its 13th training centre in Germany for employees in Gifhorn, between Hanover and Wolfsburg. The opening ceremony on 25 September, 2023, was attended by labour minister Hubertus Heil and the second chairperson of IG Metall, Christiane Benner. The company launched CITT (Continental Institute for Technology and Transformation) in 2019. The institute focuses on retraining and refocusing employees in a transitional economy – or in Conti’s words, “to strengthen the employability of individual employees.” CITT had trained 8,500 participants by the end of 2022, and Conti expects this number to reach 9,500 by the end of 2023.
First Stop, ETB networks commence Customer Centricity Week
The First Stop and ETB Autocentres networks began their Customer Centricity Week on 25 September. Both networks plan to offer a ‘delightful experience’, targeting the generation of more repeat-business and an increase in recommendations. In order to achieve this, they have created a new customer framework to raise standards among staff with three objectives: gaining loyalty and recommendations from customers, to be customer-centric, and to create what it calls “the best customer journey in the automotive retail industry.”
In order to “further deepen dialogue” with its stakeholders and to give them a “comprehensive understanding” of its approaches and initiatives for enhancing corporate value over the medium to long term, Bridgestone Corporation has published the Bridgestone 3.0 Journey 2023 Integrated Report. This document covers activities occurring between 1 January and 31 December 2022 and includes a range of facts and figures.
Siemens MoU to aid Enviro’s European expansion plan
Scandinavian Enviro Systems (Enviro) and Siemens have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a collaboration to support the European expansion plan that Enviro announced together with Antin Infrastructure Partners earlier this year. Through the collaboration, Siemens’ “extensive experience in automation and digitalisation” will help boost the efficiency of Enviro’s production.
Neptune Holding planning Cameroon’s first tyre factory
Neptune Holding Company, a Cameroonian owned enterprise, is leading a bid to build the country’s first tyre factory in Bomono, near the city of Douala. The Cameroon Tires Factory (CTF) project, as it is known, expects to create 2000 and 2500 direct jobs plus as many as 5000 indirect jobs and is being planned in conjunction with Black Donuts.
Production at the Apollo Tyres Ltd. OTR tyre factory in Limda, India has “fully resumed” after being stopped by industrial action, the tyre maker reported on 24 September. Apollo Tyres had announced on 20 September that tyre making at the Limda plant in had stopped due to “certain concerns amongst shop floor employees” relating to the renewal of a long-term settlement agreement.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company approved “a rationalization plan in Asia Pacific to improve profitability in its Australia and New Zealand operations” on 19 September 2023. The plan exits 100 retail and fleet locations and nine warehouses at the cost of 700 jobs. In other words, it changes the company’s operating model to a third-party distribution and retail sales model instead of a company-owned approach. That specifically means moves such as the recent appointment of National Tyre & Wheel Limited (National) as the exclusive distributor of the Dunlop tyre brand in Australia and New Zealand.
This week, battery manufacturer GS Yuasa officially opened its new state-of-the-art facility at Ignition Park, Swindon. Osamu Murao, president of GS Yuasa Corporation, cut the ribbon at the site during a ceremony held on Monday 18 September in the presence of 100 guests, including a selection of customers, suppliers, local dignitaries, and GS Yuasa colleagues.
First Line celebrates 40 years of growth and innovation
First Line Ltd is marking its 40th anniversary in 2023, as the company celebrates its continued commitment to providing customers with a comprehensive range of high-quality, automotive aftermarket components. Founded in 1983 as Filter International by Peter Joyner and John Madden, the forward-thinking duo are still very much involved in the business today, as they remain owners and key chairholders of the company. Since the company was launched, it has continued to experience a trajectory of growth, with the First Line brand introduced in 1987 to advance its multiple product range portfolio.
Does the tyre industry need to secure against pricing-related dawn raids?
The cost-of-living crisis is pushing the European Commission into action. Having faced accusations of being on the backfoot since the pandemic, it is now increasing the number of dawn raids and antitrust investigations. The ultimate intention is to prevent consumers facing higher costs than necessary from businesses.
Tyres for electric vehicles made using renewable electricity. This is reality at Yokohama Rubber, whose Shinshiro-Minami plant in Japan has begun producing Yokohama Advan EV tyres with power from a new proprietary solar panel power generation system that officially entered operation in August 2023 and with renewable energy-generated electricity that the plant has been procuring since April.
TyreSafe presents new partnerships, launches Tyre Safety Month campaign materials
TyreSafe has held its annual briefing with a slick online presentation designed to demonstrate its direction under a new chair. Presenting contributions from a veritable rollcall of regional and national road safety and risk management stakeholders, chair Stuart Lovatt and TyreSafe manager Jason Simms detailed the last 12 months of TyreSafe’s activities, which have included a tyre safety demonstration day at Mira, the development of new and existing partnerships with road safety organisations such as National Highways, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), Roadsafe, and several fire and police service representatives, and a range of events in local communities around the country. Lovatt explained how TyreSafe’s work is of crucial importance to the Safe System Approach, the widely accepted strategy on reducing the number of fatalities, casualties and incidents on Britain’s roads. Emma Burley, Tyresafe communications lead, also introduced the 2023 Tyre Safety Month Campaign, ‘Be Safe and Save’, indicating another way in which TyreSafe is tweaking its approach in 2023. The campaign emphasises how maintaining the good condition of tyres fitted to cars also reduce costs to motorists, a tyre safety message designed to resonate deeply in the cost-of-living crisis. TyreSafe also unveiled its latest national tread depth survey, conducted with the assistance of members at the point of replacement. Before launching into the briefing, Lovatt and Simms also paid tribute to previous chair Stuart Jackson, who stepped down after 14 years at the helm last year, prior to Lovatt’s election.